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5 Things to Know About Your PPR Leagues

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You play in a standard league? Are you a grandpa?

Standard scoring leagues are fading faster than LeBron’s hairline.

Finally.

Why has this taken so long? Why haven’t people adopted leagues that reward points per reception quicker?

Well, I think there are two reasons. First, the big guys – the sites who host fantasy leagues – make non-PPR formats the default. Really, the casual owners probably think “PPR” is some sort of mutual fund. The second reason, which is actually our fault, is that we’ve dubbed it a “standard” league. Do we not know what “standard” means? Normal. Usual. Typical. It’s kind of our fault, guys.

If you’re not playing in a PPR league, regardless of how known we’ve all made it be, you’re doing it wrong. I suppose it’s alright for those trying to keep a tradition alive, but let’s get real, people: PPR leagues – whether you’re getting half of a point or a full point for a reception – are the most logical leagues to play in.

I get it though – some of you may not be PPR ready. That’s fine, but you’ll never be prepared if you don’t do (or in this case, read) the work. Things change from a non-PPR league to one that rewards points for grabs. Things especially change when that return is a full point.

In this analysis, I used numberFire’s trusty draft cheat sheet and changed the settings from “0” points for a reception to “1”. Some of the results may surprise you, especially those with the classic ‘running back early and often’ way of thinking.

Get Your Wideouts Early..er

Wide receivers mean more to fantasy football when a full point is awarded for each catch. Thanks, Captain Obvious.

But really, the change was more significant than I thought it would be. Using numberFire’s “FireFactor” category, which ranks based on value rather than cumulative point totals, the wide receiver jump for some folks was larger than I anticipated. In fact, according to our value analysis, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Andre Johnson could all be considered first round draft selections in 12-team, full point PPR leagues this year.

Now, it’s not necessarily time to go wide receiver crazy in your PPR drafts. Though I’m a huge proponent of taking a stud receiver this season – each season – in fantasy due to weekly volatility at the position, we should keep in mind that running backs are still the scarce resource in fantasy football. If you’re going to take the risk in getting a wideout that early, you better be sure that the average draft positions align with your strategy. In other words, don’t reach for the sake of reaching: play the ADP game, and secure as much value as possible during your draft. Just know that getting an elite receiver is an important task in this type of format.

The Andre Johnson Boost

One receiver in particular, Andre Johnson, really stuck out as a surprising riser when the league settings shifted. We’ve got Andre ranked as the 31st overall selection in standard leagues, behind a total of 19 running backs. When the scoring changed, Johnson leaped to the 12 spot, a tail-end first round choice.

After thinking about the jump, I began to realize how much sense it made. Take a look at Johnson’s career numbers:

YearGamesRec.YardsTDs16-game reception total
20031666976466
200416791,142679
20051363688278
2006161031,1475103
20079608518107
2008161151,5758115
2009161011,5699101
201013861,2168106
2011733492275
2012161121,5984112

If Andre Johnson had stayed healthy throughout his career, there’s a legitimate chance that he could have compiled an unreal six 100-plus reception seasons. Jerry Rice only did that four times. Randy Moss just twice. Roddy White, the king of consistent wide receiver play, has also only done it twice in his career.

Six?!

That’s why the bump occurs. He’s not much of a touchdown scorer, which has always been his fantasy football knock. But in a full point PPR league, Andre Johnson is a great snag at draft time.

Welcome to the Second Round, Mr. Sproles

Of course, wide receivers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a change in reception scoring. Running backs can become more valuable, too. And no running back will see a bigger jump than the Saints' Darren Sproles.

Since becoming a Saint in 2011 (people worship him), Sproles has yet to have a season with fewer than 75 receptions. Moreover, his 75-reception season was injury-plagued, as he missed three games with a fractured hand. In other words, he’s a reception machine, making this format perfect for Darren Sproles.

He jumped from the 23rd-best running back to the 12th with just one scoring change. He should be a second round lock in this type of league.

An overrated Alfred Morris Drop?

Astute fantasy owners seem to devalue the runners who don’t catch a lot of passes. Alfred Morris, in many PPR drafts, will fall to the middle of the second round, even though he’s a first-round draft choice in standard leagues.

Is it warranted? Well, after doing this brief analysis, not really. Morris is our ninth-ranked runner in standard leagues, leaving the draft board in the first round. In full point PPR leagues, Morris only drops to the 13th-ranked running back, still making him a viable early second-round draft selection.

Now, keep in mind that we don’t see Alfie catching just 11 passes again this season. We have him slotted for 25, which would assume 14 more points would be added to his total. But it’s not as though we’re projecting him for another 1,600-yard season, either. He’s still a serviceable RB1 in PPR leagues, especially if you go after a Megatron or A.J. Green early. Don’t overrate his drop in this type of format.

Draft Your Signal-Callers Even Later

Your mom, my uncle, your cat, my dog – they all know that waiting on a quarterback is a sound draft strategy this season. And guess what? They’re not catching passes. In PPR leagues – in any PPR league, let alone a full point one – quarterbacks are devalued.

Aaron Rodgers went from our 17th overall player to our 38th with one simple scoring change. I’m not a huge advocate in taking any quarterback early, as I like to stockpile my wide receiver and running back assets, but in PPR leagues, you better recognize how drastically value can change. Aaron Rodgers matters even less when pass catchers are snagging a point per reception.

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In This Article

Aaron Rodgers
QB, Green Bay Packers

Andre Johnson
WR, Houston Texans

Brandon Marshall
WR, Chicago Bears

Calvin Johnson
WR, Detroit Lions

Darren Sproles
RB, New Orleans Saints

Demaryius Thomas
WR, Denver Broncos

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